Disabled man was kidnapped and robbed, court hears

Thursday, January 16, 2014
9:12 AM

A vulnerable quadriplegic was forced against his will to leave the Vauxhall Resource Centre, in Norwich, and taken in his wheelchair to Chapelfield Gardens where he was robbed of £7 and then just abandoned, a court heard.

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The 38 year-old wheelchair-bound victim, who Norwich Crown Court heard cannot speak and is completely reliant on others for his care, was waiting to be picked up from the centre in Johnson Place, when Adam Webster, 38, and Sarah Harcourt, are alleged to have wheeled him to Chapelfield Gardens, where he was robbed of cash he kept in a bag, a jury heard.

Richard Potts, prosecuting, said that Harcourt had suggested to the victim he went for a walk in the park with them and after making him leave the centre in his wheelchair, she sat on the victim’s lap and kissed him on the cheek before taking the cash from his bag.

He said the victim was then abandoned nearby and left to find his way back to the Vauxhall Centre, in his electric wheelchair, where he raised the alarm.

“He was even able to tell them the first names of those involved as he heard them speak the names Adam and Sarah.”

Mr Potts said Webster and Harcourt were arrested shortly afterwards.

He said that CCTV footage showed Harcourt pushing the victim in his wheelchair from the centre and Webster is seen with them.

Harcourt has admitted robbery and kidnap on August 8 last year, but Webster, of William Kett Close, Norwich, has denied both the charges.

Mr Potts said: “His case is that he accepts he was there, but did not take part in what happened.”

He said that Webster claims he thought Harcourt knew the victim as a friend and claims he did not take part in the robbery.

He said this issue would be for the jury to decide but said the prosecution case was that he was lending encouragement and support by his presence.

“The prosecution say he was part and parcel to what was going on and providing assistance.”

The victim, who cannot speak, started to give his evidence from behind a screen with the help of an interpreter and a intermediary.

He told the jury that he cannot speak at all or move his legs and is a quadriplegic after suffering from meningitis as a child.

He said that he had never seen Harcourt or Webster until they came to the centre that day.

He will continue giving evidence today,.

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